Shaykh Abbas-e-Qummi (R.A.): The Great Historian and Researcher

The seal of traditionalists (Khaatamul Mohaddeseen) the great historian and researcher Sheikh Abbas Ibne Muhammad Reza Abul Qasim Qummi (r.a.) was born in the city of Qum after 1290 AH. After finishing his elementary education in Qum, he went to Najaf in 1316 A.H. to pursue higher religious subjects, apart from completion of basics like Muqaddamaat and principles of jurisprudence. In Najaf, he got the opportunity to attend the lectures of great scholars and remained under the tutelage of the esteemed teacher Mirza Husain Noori (r.a.) till the latter expired in 1320 A.H.

Al-Haaj Sheikh Abbas Qummi (r.a.) was the embodiment of abstinence and piety. He was second to none in the training of oneself, being aware of the religious laws, trying to follow the infallible Ahle Bait (a.s.) in worship, obedience, caution in speech, and keeping every aspect of oneself away from the prohibitions. He used to give lectures regarding advice and admonitions, the remembrance of Ahle Bait (a.s.) and conveying the traditions of the Holy Ahle Bait (a.s.). During these lectures tears would flow from his eyes to the extent that they would moisten his beard.

The esteemed author of 'al-Zareeah', Sheikh Aqa Buzurg Tehrani (r.a.) says regarding Haaj Sheikh Abbas Qummi (r.a.): 'I have found him to be a role model, possessing great knowledge. He bore a quality that made everyone who came to know him, like him. His behavior was excellent and his demeanor very humble. His personality was noble and honorable and had the rare combination of knowledge and piety and strict abstinence. I stayed with him for a good period and was therefore close to him.'

Sheikh Abbas Qummi was always involved in teaching and training, and wrote extensively with such interest that nothing could deter him from continuing this good work. He has authored numerous works in Arabic and Persian, some of which are listed hereunder:
 

    1. Safinatul Behar wa Madinatul Hekam wal Aasar
    2. Al-Kuna wal Alqaab
    3. Al-Fawaid Al-Razawiyyah fi Taraajame Olamaa Al-Jafariyah
    4. Mafaateehul Jinan (which is unparalleled for its popularity in the Shia world)
    5. Madinatul Ahbaab fil Maroofeen bil Kuna wal Alqab
    6. Muntahal Aamaal fi tarikh al-Nabi wal Aal (this book is translated in Urdu as Ahsanul Maqal)
    7. Tatammotul Muntaha fi Waqaae Ayyam al-Khulafa
    8. Al-Anwarul Bahiyyah fi Tawaareekh al-Hojajil Ilahiyyah
    9. Baytul Ahzan fi Masaeb Sayyidatin Niswan
    10. Al-Ghayatul Quswa fi Tarjomate Urwatul Wusqa
    11. Kohlul Basar fi Seerate Sayyadil Bashar
    12. Manaazelul Aakherah
    13. Nafasul Mahmoom
    14. Hadiyatuz Zaeereen
Sheikh Abbas Qummi (r.a.) passed away in Najaf on Tuesday the 23rd of Zilhajj 1359 A.H. He was laid to rest in the courtyard of the holy shrine of Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.) in the same chamber as his teacher Mohaddise Noori (r.a.). May Allah shower his mercy on both of them.

Shaykh Abbas-e-Qummi (R.A.)

The writer of the Traditions of Ahlu’l Bayt (AS)

Prepared & Translated by Shaikh Abbas Jaffer  

Shaykh Abbas-e Qummi is the author of the indispensable book of du’as, called Mafatih-al-Jinan, (Keys to the Heavens).  He was an expert in hadith, and for this reason, he is famously known as Muhaddith-e Qummi.  Amongst his many other works, Manazil-e Akhira and Safinatul-Bihar are well-known.

 He was a man of great piety and a sincere lover of the Prophet (SWWS) and his progeny (AS).  Such was his faith and conviction, that one day, when his son was very ill, he took a glass of water, and after mixing the water with his finger, he gave it to his son to drink, saying, “Drink this my son, you will soon be better, because with this hand I have written many ahadith (traditions) of the Ahlu’l Bayt (AS).” 

One of the senior scholars of Najaf once said to Shaykh Abbas-e-Qummi, “My foot is constantly hurting me - please pray for me.”  The Shaykh replied, “If I say I will pray for you, it is possible that my prayer may not be answered if I have uttered something sinful in the past.  However, I will pass my hand over your foot, because with this hand I have written many ahadith of the Ahlu’l Bayt (AS) and Insha’Allah Imam Sadiq (AS) will effect a cure for you.”  He rubbed his hand over the scholar’s foot and the pain left him immediately.

 When he began to compile the Mafatih, some scholars of Qum advised him to use his vast knowledge to write explanatory notes on some of the complicated books, like Kifayah and Makasib of Shaykh al-Ansari, instead.  “Are you just sitting writing a book of du’as?” they asked.  He replied, “I will continue writing the Mafatih, and I have dedicated its reward to the soul of Fatima Zahra (AS), and, with her blessings, it will become Mafatih-al-Jinan - keys to the gardens of Paradise.” 

One day he was sitting contemplating in the graveyard of Wadi-as-Salaam in Najaf - where many great personalities are buried.  He saw that some people had just buried a man. Suddenly, for a brief moment, the veils were lifted from before his eyes and he saw angels descending from the heavens with whips of fire with which they began to strike the dead man. He started to scream and shriek in pain, but none of the mourners heard or saw anything unusual; there was a man sitting near the grave reciting Qur’an and another was distributing dates and fruits, and another was weeping, but none saw what was happening to that man.    However, the terrible sight that the Shaykh saw in those brief moments made him ill for one whole week. 

Source: “Karamat wa Hikayate Ashiqane Khuda” - “Miracles and Anecdotes of the Close Servants of Allah”, pp 61-64.  Translated AJ/231105

http://islamicinsights.com/religion/history/shaikh-abbas-qummi.html

After a few hours of negotiations, the scholar and the printer had eventually worked out a deal. As the scholar handed over the manuscript, however, he seemed to be deep in thought. And then, he seemed to completely change his mind. Leaving the printer confused, he picked up the manuscript and left. Over a year later, he returned. The publisher inquired about his strange behavior. The scholar said, "I had composed a book on the supplications and prayers to be performed for each day of the year. However, I felt it was unfair for me to tell others to do them without having done them myself. So, for the last year, I have gone through the book and performed every act for each day that is recommended. Here it is now for publication." The bewildered printer took the manuscript from the scholar, probably having no idea that it would soon become one of the most widely-read books by Shias around the world!

He was born Shaikh Abbas ibn Muhammad Ridha ibn Abi Qasim al-Qummi in the holy city of Qom in 1294 AH. His mother was a very pious woman, and it is said that she made sure to be in a state of ablution every time she fed the child. He spent his early childhood in the city and began religious education in the seminary of Qom. In 1316 AH, at the age of 22, he traveled to Najaf, where he studied under the greatest scholars of the time, including Akhund Khurasani, Sayyid Muhammad Kadhim Tabatabai, Mirza Hussain Noori, and Shaikh Taqi Shirazi. Upon the request of Shaikh Abdul Karim Hairi, he eventually returned to Qom to assist in managing the affairs of its revitalized seminary.

Shaikh Abbas had extensive knowledge of Hadith, and for this reason, he is also famously known as Muhaddith al-Qummi. In fact, when one of the scholars in Najaf asked him to pray on behalf of his hurting foot, Shaikh Abbas replied, "I have committed sins in the past, so it is possible that my prayer will not be answered. However, I have written numerous narrations of the Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them) with this hand of mine, so I will rub it on your foot, and Insha'Allah you will be cured by the sake of Imam as-Sadiq (peace be upon him)." He rubbed his hand on the other scholar's foot, and the pain vanished immediately!

Because of his vast knowledge, Shaikh Abbas was often asked to write commentaries on the Kifayaand Makasib of Shaikh Murtadha Ansari. However, his real interest lay in supplication literature. After a long and arduous struggle, Shaikh Abbas compiled a book that contained the text of and detailed instructions on supplications (Du'as), salutations (Ziyaraat), and prayers for each day of the year. He dedicated it to the soul of Lady Fatima Zahra (peace be upon her), saying that with her blessings, the book would become Mafatih al-Jinan (keys of paradise). Today, the book can be found in essentially every single Shia mosque, library, bookstore, school, and household. It has been translated in many other languages since then. The English version is known as either The Prayer's Almanac orSupplications: Call on Me, I Answer You and is available online.

 

An extremely pious individual, Shaikh Abbas not only compiled a manual of prayers and supplications, he actually lived his life by them. Ayatollah Buzurg Tehrani writes that he found him to be a model of abstinence and piety, completely aware and practicing of all the religious laws, and extremely devout in following the teachings and examples of the Ahlul Bayt. In fact, when he compiled the Mafatih and took it to the publisher, he in fact brought it back and acted upon its various recommendations for the entire year before submitting it for publication again, a tremendous example of the concept of "practice what you preach."

In addition to Mafatih al-Jinan, he also penned several important books. These include Safinat al-Bihar, Nafs al-Mahmoom, Muntah al-A'amal, and Manazil al-Akhiriya. Many of these have been translated into English, including Nafs al-Mahmoom, which is an account of the tragedy of Karbala.

In 1359 AH, Shaikh Abbas passed away in the city of Najaf. His funeral prayers were led by Ayatollah Sayyid Abul Hassan Isfehani, and he was laid to rest in the courtyard of Imam Ali's (peace be upon him) shrine.